Border changes have caused major issues in Albury-Wodonga with Victorians fleeing in droves, and concerns the cross-border bubble may shrink if NSW coronavirus cases grow.
Hundreds of holidaymakers quickly left Albury and surrounds on Thursday afternoon as Victorian Acting Premier Jacinta Allan announced plans to close the border into Victoria from 11.59pm on Friday, and announced isolation rules for those returning.
For border residents the existing system of being able to cross the Murray River by showing your driver's licence will remain. However, the size of the bubble could contract. It now extends as far as Alpine, Bendigo and Shepparton in Victoria and up to Hay and Wagga in NSW.
Dr Craig Underhill said online that the measures could trigger a potential health crisis with healthcare staff forced to isolate if unable to return to the bubble in time.
Ms Allan on Thursday said Victorians would need to return home from NSW by midnight tonight to avoid hotel quarantine, but the changes, including testing and quarantine measures, left many feeling uncertain.
Dozens of people began packing up at the Quality Siesta Resort on Wagga Road as the announcement was made, with some cutting their holidays short within an hour of the announcement.
Lake Hume Resort had 14 cancellations in the hour after Ms Allan's decision being publicised.
Holidaymakers at the Siesta, including Georgia Papadeas, told The Border Mail the changes were unclear.
"I think that's not a fair amount of time to give someone," she said.
"It's created a mass exodus rush and no one's really 100 per cent certain.
"It's wishy washy, nobody really knows what's what, but we can't afford to risk it.
"We've heard a lot of mixed stories.
"We're going just in case - we can't get stuck."
Many, including Lou Smythe, said they wanted to avoid being stuck in quarantine.
"We've only been here for one night ... it's a s--- way to end the year," she said.
Lori Ristevski had only arrived in Albury at 1pm on Thursday.
He had left with his family by about 5.30pm.
"We're very unsure what you can and can't do," he said.
"There's just mixed messages.
"But you do what you've got to do in regards to the protection of your family and everyone else."
The changes were made after eight locally acquired cases were recorded in Victoria.